Full Days, Full Heart

This afternoon I got to share time with a special book club at the Beacon Hill library. It’s connected with Nikkei Concerns and is composed, primarily, of older Japanese Americans. For this month’s book, they read The Fences Between Us, and invited me to join them. I loved it, but found myself on the verge of tears during the meeting. Who could have kept a dry eye as Bob talked about being an orphan in San Francisco and being sent to the Children’s Village in Manzanar? His was one of the stories included in Twice Orphaned: Voices from the Children’s Village of Manzanar, (by Catherine Irwin) a book that’s been added to my reading list. One member told me she’d been weeping all morning because of the phrase, “Don’t take any wooden nickels,” which she informed me appeared three times in the book and were the last words her father said to her. Then there was Rose who took me to task for only telling about the sad parts of camp. She assured us there had been lots of fun for her, at age 18, when she went to Minidoka, including sneaking away to nearby Eden, Idaho. I so wish I’d known Rose before I’d written the book. Most everyone who came had some connection to Reverend Emery Andrews, the model for Piper’s father, Reverend Davis, in the book. One woman cherished the memory of celebrating her 7th birthday in Camp Harmony because Reverend Andrews had brought her some orange soda for her special day. And just read this note the librarian handed me, written by a member who couldn’t attend.

I think you can imagine why my heart was so full as I drove home afterward!

And tomorrow I head out for Eureka, California, for the Humboldt County Author Festival. This amazing committee of community folks brings about 25 book creators to Humboldt County every two years. On Thursday and Friday, 60 area schools will be learning the ins and outs of writing and illustrating children’s books, and on Saturday there’s a huge book sale and signing at the gorgeous library downtown. This festival started in 1975 and has been going strong ever since. Its longevity is a powerful testament to the Humboldt community.

Heartfelt thanks to the Festival Committee:

Linda Lorvig, Chairperson
Hanne Heilmann, Secretary
Byrd Locthtie, Treasurer
JoAnn Bauer, Author Selection
Lucy Quinby, School Liaison
Marsha Mielke, Book Sales and Webmistress
Can’t wait!